Man Bartlett

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Nude with Skeleton


I cried no less than twice on Saturday at the Marina Abramovic show. Despite the crowds and the over-curation, moments still moved me to my deepest core.

Most specifically, “Nude with Skeleton.”

The set up was simple enough, a woman with a skeleton resting on top of her. When she breathed the skeleton would move. Occasionally she would look at you, then away, then close or half-close her eyes. I stayed with this piece for a while, living my death and sharing it with the performer, as she shared her death with me. I found myself wanting to protect her from the masses who were not grasping the gravity of the story. From the countless people who just didn’t get it. From the mindless folks who wandered into the clearly taped off part, not even noticing her. And from those who couldn’t see or appreciate how hard her body was working not just to stay in that position, but to stay alive. But there were too many people, and the rest of my day was calling. And quite frankly I was beginning to break down, and very self-consciously so. I hastily offered a blessing and basically fled the scene. Somehow both broken and whole, and crying near uncontrollably. The rest of that day I thought I had fallen in love with the performer. That we had forged some transcendental connection. Which, maybe we had, but more importantly what happened is that through this person I fell in love with the acceptance of my own mortality. Which is a freedom beyond love.